Ordinary Time


 “You do not know when the Lord will come.”   (Tom, Pixabay)

This past season was the first time many could celebrate the festive season somewhat freely with friends and family, so it felt extra special.  But there is something of a relief in being back to what the church calls “ordinary time.”  So much of our lives are lived in events as “prosaic as a hiccup,” Alice Munro would say.

My memories of the workaday world of punch clocks and turnstiles into factory and office have receded.    The years of working have yielded their reward in retirement, so life is more leisurely.  Nowadays, it’s usually seeing the school bus picking up neighbourhood children that prompts a beginning of the day’s chores.

And it is the simple stuff of our day to day existence that proves to be the real treasure.  Once you take the hurry away, even a small routine like washing breakfast dishes can be savoured.  There is time to sit down between tasks and ponder what to do next.

Even boredom has its place.  That at-loose-ends Sunday afternoon years ago led to rooting around for something to do, which led to the keyboard being unearthed from its basement shelf.  The love of music, lying dormant since childhood,  awakened new potential years later.

Annie Dillard said that “how we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives.”  2023 is still mostly a blank page.  May your life this year be blessed by all the “ordinary” things in your days.

The Power of Littles

Great events, we often find,
On little things depend;
And very small beginnings
Have oft a mighty end.

Letters joined make words
And words to books may grow.
As flake on flake descending
Form an avalanche of snow.

A single utterance may good
Or evil thought inspire;
One little spark enkindled,
May set a town on fire.

What volumes may be written
With little drops of ink?
How small a leak, unnoticed,
A mighty ship will sink?

A tiny insect’s labour
Makes the coral strand,
And mighty seas are girdled
With grains of golden sand.

A daily penny, saved
A fortune may begin.
A daily penny, squandered
May lead to vice and sin.

Our life is made entirely
Of moments multiplied,
As little streamers, joining
Form the ocean’s tide.

Our hours and days, our months and years,
Are in small moments given;
They constitute our time below –
Eternity in heaven.


Long Lost

As a scatterbrained youngster, I was forever forgetting or losing things.  A classmate may not have minded occasionally lending a pencil, but I was very reluctant to hit up the same person each time when I forgot mine at home  . . . again.  I once left a perfectly good dress in a bag on a Greyhound bus.   When I see Lost and Found boxes now, it appears that I am not alone.

Just before the pandemic hit, I had a problem with the pedal on my sewing machine, so took it in to Baskins fabric store in St. Thomas for repair.  When I went to pick it up, much to my surprise,  the clerk asked if a scissors they had in a box could possibly be mine.  It had a tag with my name and old phone number on it (we’d moved in 2010).  Note the date on the invoice for scissor sharpening – 2003!  I had missed that scissors, had wondered about where it could have gone, but given up searching and bought a new pair years before.

Somehow I’d forgotten that I’d ever taken it to the shop.  Baskins had faithfully kept my scissors from 2003 to 2019 in the hopes I would one day come in to get them.

Work was busy in those years.  Life was eventful, there were crises to survive and overcome.  But in that time, there were faithful people who held my place or possessions until I could come back to claim what was rightfully mine.

This help can be practical, but isn’t always in tangible form.  Sometimes just the predictability of worship services at church set a comforting and encouraging rhythm so that I could keep on track.   Someone did the work of planning and serving so that could happen.  Someone kept safe the gospel hope to return it to me when I’d long forgotten it in dark days and ordinary ways.

I did feel somewhat foolish about my forgotten and abandoned scissors, which must have been tucked away in some corner in the shop for years.   But the owner of Baskins laughed and told me that I didn’t need to pay the sharpening fee anymore.

A small grace gratefully received.